Understand and make requests and enquiries

Understand and make requests and enquiries

Making Requests

  • Politeness: Recognise that making requests in British Sign Language (BSL) often involves more formality in comparison to spoken English. Use appropriate signs and facial expressions for ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to convey respect towards the receiver.

  • Clarity of Request: Precisely express what is required, utilising the correct vocabulary and structure. Your request must be understandable and specific, reducing the chance of misinterpretation.

  • Sequential Presentation: Requests in BSL are often linear, with the sign for the object coming before the action. Get familiar with this structure to build comprehensible phrases.

Understanding Requests

  • Attention to Detail: Pay close attention to the sender’s specific signs and non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions or body language, which can provide crucial context.

  • Comprehension of Intent: Understand the underlying intention of the requester by taking into account the situation and the stated request. This will help in providing an appropriate response.

  • Confirmation: If unsure, ask for confirmation or clarification to ensure the request is accurately understood before providing a response. This is key to effective communication.

Formulating Enquiries

  • Question Structure: Spoken English and BSL have different syntax for questions, with BSL often having Question-Subject-Verb-Object format. Familiarise yourself with this structure to create clear enquiries.

  • Use of Non-manual Features: Use appropriate facial expressions and other non-manual features to indicate a question. This can be raising your eyebrows for a Yes-No question or scrunching your eyebrows for ‘wh’ questions (who, what, where, when, why).

  • Contextual Enquiry: Ensure that your enquiry is well suited for the situation. Avoid asking questions that might be deemed insensitive or inappropriate.

Understanding Enquiries

  • Understanding Question Syntax: Comprehend the structure of questions in BSL, recognising the difference between Yes-No questions and ‘wh’ questions.

  • Interpreting Non-manual Cues: Pay attention to the clues provided by facial expressions and other body language, which might hint at the nature and intent of the enquiry.

  • Responsive Actions: Formulate an appropriate response to the question, either providing information or expressing non-availability of the same. Be polite, clear, and considerate in responses.